Cooking: Greens and Tofu Goodness

I used to eat this every day for breakfast when I had a schedule that allowed for cooking breakfast in the morning. It’s a great way to get some protein and vegetables early in the day. I like it without rice, but you could have some if that is your pleasure. I developed this while living at 85 Electric Avenue with a bunch of roommates. I’m not sure who thought of this combo first, but this is how it has evolved for me. Follow along as we make Greens and Tofu Goodness.

Your tools. Right now, I only have a microplane grater which is somewhat great, but tends to clog a bit and also include pieces of my knuckles in whatever I’m grating. I’m hopefully getting a box grater for Christmas. The compost bucket is optional.
The supplies you will need. Back row: olive oil, soy sauce (or gluten free, more expensive, tamari in my case) nutritional yeast. Do not skip the nutritional yeast. It is what makes the dish. I find it in our bulk section of the grocery store. I like the large flake as the small flake makes me cough. Front row 1/2 onion, whole or piece of carrot, greens, firm or extra firm tofu (not silken). For the greens: my favorite is kale, but any kind of greens work well here. Today for instance, I had chard and collards.
This is a prep-as-you-cook sort of recipe after the first few times you make it. You can start one step, and then chop for the next. It’s also not an exact science. So you aren’t going to read Tablespoon, or 1/2 cup here. It’s based on how much you want to eat.

First heat your pan and put in some olive oil. Try Medium heat or just above. I read that for best non-sticking on cast iron skillets, heat the pan until the sides feel warm to you, then add the oil, then let the oil coat the bottom and only after it has heated do you add your ingredients. Note–my pan doesn’t usually look this bad. There was a bit of soaking that did not do good.
Chop your onion. I like slices, but you might like it chopped into bits.
Chop your greens. Here, I am attempting to demonstrate the easy way of getting greens off of their stem I learned from America’s Test Kitchen. I ran out of hands though, so you will just have to imagine. Hold the green upside down by its stem. Run a sharp knife along the stem. The greens will fall off and you will be left with the stem. So easy.
I usually pile my greens up and roll them into a cigar shaped tube. I then cut off slices of greens. dinosaur kale doesn’t lend itself to that, so I just piled it up and chopped.

Grate your carrot. Avoid including knuckles.
Crumble your tofu.
Cook your onions. I like them a little bit dark and limp.Add your greens and carrot. Stir them around until the greens are bright green and a little smaller.

Add your tofu. I usually just crumble it in on top. Then it is time for crunch time. Stir the tofu around until it is warm, but not so long it sticks to the pan. Add the soy sauce and stir it around to distribute.
Throw the whole shebang onto your plate and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Do NOT skip the nutritional yeast. It is yummy.
Eat and enjoy. After, cut up your remaining tofu and store it in water in a container. It will keep for awhile this way.
The recipe in short form without the pictures:

olive oil
1/2 onion
whole or piece of carrot
firm or extra firm tofu
soy sauce
nutritional yeast

  1. heat your pan and put in some olive oil
  2. Chop your onion
  3. Chop your greens
  4. Grate your carrot
  5. Crumble your tofu.
  6. Cook your onions.
  7. Add your greens and carrot.
  8. Add your tofu.
  9. Stir the tofu around until it is warm, but not so long it sticks to the pan.
  10. Add the soy sauce and stir it around to distribute.
  11. Throw the whole shebang onto your plate and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
  12. Eat and enjoy

Hideous Kinky. Esther Freud.

I’m very guilty of judging a book by its cover. I chose this one for several cover-based reasons. 1) The title. Hideous Kinky is perhaps the best non-porn book title ever. 2) It was made into a movie with Kate Winslet who I like and who appears on the cover of the book. I hate it when they do that, but they do and I fell for it. 3) It was written by Esther Freud. I love that name. It is so repressed-sounding. Although the author sounds fairly libertine in her blurb.

Not many adult books are written from a child’s perspective and not many of those books are good. This is. The narrator is a five year old who travels with her seven year old sister and her mother to Marrakesh. It seems to be the 60s because everyone is very free. School? Not necessary. Brushing teeth? Not happening. Dental problems due to not brushing? Oh well. Money to pay the rent? It will get here, eventually.

The narrator chronicles the sister’s journey as their mother drifts around Marrakesh. It is a delightful story full of other drifters, Moroccans, and children. It’s also full of the sights and sounds of the markets and hotels of Marrakesh.

Mrs. Mike. Benedict & Nancy Freedman.

I read about this book in the Oprah magazine and got to it before there were a million holds on it at the library. It was great! A lot of times when I read books written pre-1960, I have to work to keep my attention on the page. It’s amazing how writing styles have changed in 50+ years. But this was a gripping book that kept me reading and reading.

It’s based on the true story of Katherine who, in 1907 at the age of 16 moved from Boston to Alberta to live with her uncle. She moves because the weather in Alberta is supposed to help her pleurisy. Once there, she meets Mike, a Mountie and they marry in short order. They move to the Northwest Territories where Mike is posted.

There, they encounter a lot of winter (my number one reason for not marrying a Mountie.) They also encounter illness, isolation and crime. They meet hearty pioneer stock and see a lot of tragedy as well as suffer some of their own. The transformation of Kate from a young, invalid girl to a mature, world-weary married woman (at the age of 20) is both charming and heartbreaking.

Be prepared for 1940s era descriptions of Indians (read: not very p.c.) Be also prepared for the main character to find her identity through her husband. But most of all, be prepared to like this book. A lot.

November morning walk.

My week off afforded a morning walk when it was actually light out. I’m having a bit of trouble with the darkness and cold this winter. Highlights:

Long before I lived in North Portland I used to bike here a lot. I’ve always loved the small house/big lot combination that flourishes here. This is a nice example.
Oh my, what a pretty craftsman house. I love it!
Except from this direction where they have decided to add a carport-cum-drive-in. If the zoning changes, they can make a killing serving hamburgers and root beer floats. What were they thinking?
What would this hole be doing in this fence?
Ah, a hole left over from the days when the meter reader actually had to read the meter.
This fence surrounded this very box-like house. The very rectangular house takes up the whole lot and is surrounded by a tall fence. The roof is pretty flat. U-G-L-Y It don’t need no alibi… It was for sale and the flyer said, “Must see inside.” Judging from the outside, I think that was all they could say.

Tall Bikes

Portland is such a bike-y city that there are subsets of cyclists in town. One of the subsets is people who never refer to themselves as cyclists. Another is people with tall bikes.

Tall bikes are cool. They are cool because you pretty much have to make your own tall bike, or be friends with someone who does. They are cool because you get to ride far above cars. They are cool because small children gleefully point when they see them. I would love to ride one.

I had the chance. One of the parents of a first grader at my school has a tall bike. I was exclaiming over it, and he offered to let me ride. I automatically said, “Oh, no. I couldn’t,” and then kicked myself later. Next time he offers, I won’t be so quick to say no.

This tall bike was locked up outside school on Friday. It’s being a tall bike makes it cool, but most of them are better crafted than this. Still, can you imagine riding one?

More fun comics

The reason my tattoos are not in a visible place. It’s going to be fun in the nursing home playing guess the tattoo. (Sorry it’s a little blurry)

Get Fuzzy is one of my favorite cartoons. When I describe it (a somewhat loser guy and a cat and a dog) people say, “You mean Garfield?” But Garfield isn’t funny and this is. This is from the week that Satchel was eating a lot of stuff. Darby Conley draws expressions so well.
ps. Who are these people who write entries on Wikipedia. Does the world need 9 paragraphs on Satchel. Do these people vote?

Read in November

I read 10 novels this month, which isn’t bad. As usual, most of them were novels, with a few non-fiction thrown in for good measure. This month saw me very picky with my books. It was hard to settle in, especially early in the month. There were a lot that were started and not finished. In compiling this list, I realize that I read more books that are just so-so than I would like. I’m not sure how to fix that. I think I need some good recommendations, but I don’t seem to be tapped into any book recommending network. Maybe I’ll go back to my tactic of looking up the titles I like on and seeing what books other people bought. That might not work so well for fiction. It’s a very good tactic for non-fiction. I never buy from Amazon; I get the books from the library instead.

I’ll happily take any recommendations. I like good historical fiction a lot, but only if it is well written. I like modern realistic fiction, the better written the happier I am. I even like science fiction and fantasy, but it has to have a good plot line.

Read:(see the individual reviews)

Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Tyagi

Soon I will be invincible.
Austin Grossman.

The Invisible Circus
Jennifer Egan.

The god of animals.
Aryn Kyle.

Don’t Die, My Love
Lurline McDaniel

Eleanor Rigby
Douglas Coupland

Debra Galant

Storage & Shelving Solutions: Over 70 projects and ideas that fit your budget, space and lifestyle.
Reader’s Digest

Metropolis: A Novel
Elizabeth Gaffney

Venus Envy
Shannon McKeldon

Started and didn’t finish:

England, England.
Julian Barnes.
I started this after finishing Soon I Will Be Invincible and I think the happy glow of that book interfered with any small spark of interest that this book might have given out. I couldn’t get into it.

My Life, Starring Dara Falcon.
Ann Beattie
See the England, England entry. Same deal.

Almighty Me.
Robert Bausch
And this was the third book I just wasn’t into. Good premise, man gets the powers of god for a year. Execution? Not that interesting.

Oy pioneer!: a novel.
Marleetn S. Barr
I checked this out of the library and began reading it only to discover I had already read it. I must really like the title.

Mainlines, blood feasts, and bad taste: a Lester Bangs reader.
Ed by John Morthland.
I would like to say I knew who Lester Bangs was before I saw Almost Famous where Philip Seymour Hoffman portrayed him as a slightly manic semi-gonzo Rock Journalist who delivers my favorite line in the entire movie: “The only true currency in this world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.” However, I was in elementary school when he died and I had no idea who he was.

So this book introduced me to his writings. He is an electric writer, although I feel like I can see the drugs behind the words on the page. The book is all about music, some of which you will know, some of which you will vaguely remember and some of which you will have no idea what he is talking about because the bands have not stood the test of time. He died in 1982 a lot of bands have faded into the unconscious since then. This is a great book for a rock music lover (aware of music before 1982) to have around to dip into and read a bit of and then set down. I’m not really set up for dipping into right now, so I’m not going to finish this. But it’s no reflection on Lester Bangs.

Mozart’s Sister: a novel.
Rita Charbonnier.
I’m just not into this book about, well you can guess from the title. I suspect it will make me mad, the way she, a talented musician got shunted aside for her genius brother. So I’m not going to keep reading.

The complete idiot’s guide to gluten-free eating.
Adamson & Thompson.
I’ve been eating gluten-free to see if it will solve my health problems. I picked this up to get some tips.

So simple window style.
Abbott & Burren.
I didn’t read this book, but I copied a few ideas. I really want to do Roman Shades in the front room. Maybe this summer.

Smart Shelving and Storage Solutions.
Danny Proulx
This book was eclipsed by the other storage & shelf book I got. Sorry Mr. Proulx.

Checked out and didn’t read:
American Diaspora: poetry of displacement.
Ed. by Suraez & Van Cleave.
I got this book for a project for youth group and then forgot to bring it the day of. It went back to the library unread.

Intoxicated: A novel of money, madness, and the invention of the world’s favorite soft drink.
John Barlow
I wasn’t in the mood for this. So I didn’t read it. I think I couldn’t get past the fact that it seemed to be about Coca-Cola, but began in England. I know it could have gone anywhere from there, but I kept thinking, “Coca-Cola is from Atlanta, Georgia! What are we doing in England?”

Venus Envy. Shannon McKeldon

In this book Venus/Aphrodite angers Zeus and he punishes her by making her be a fairy godmother. She’s been doing it for 1000 years when she lands her next assignment in Rachel Greer, a 30 year old woman living outside of Seattle who has sworn off men after 3 disastrous relationships and has overfilled her time with volunteer work. She’s not much interested in meeting prince charming, much to Venus’ frustration.

This was mostly an annoying book and my finishing it had more to do with it being cold out. Because of the cold, I didn’t want to get up and find another book to read, so I just finished this one. It’s a nice beach read.

What I did on my Thanksgiving Break.

I had the entire week off, which was very welcome. I had great plans, and spent the week in a happy combination of work and sloth. A lot of little projects got finished around the house. The biggest one was painting a wall in the living room. It was pretty exciting to see how the color changed the room. I’ll get an entry about it up on the “ours” blog soon.

I spent Thanksgiving with the BroMAunts (Brother, Mother, Aunts.) I’ll get an entry up on the “ours” blog about that too. Thursday night, I stayed over at my mom’s house so we could go with the Aunts to the Rickreal Christmas Bazaar. The town of Rickreal is outside of Salem, so we had a nice drive there. The Bazaar was great, though had mostly nothing I wanted or needed. Do you have a need for crocheted booties to keep your feet warm? Do you long for booties in U of O or OSU colors? This was the bazaar for you! There were three or four booths with your choice of booties in a vast array of colors. There was also a huge booth with many, many, many decorative toilet seat covers. Do you long for a “roll in the hay”? Then the booth with the plastic bag with some hay and a toilet paper roll was for you.

In the car afterward, we were reviewing the highs and lows. They did have some nice stuff, especially some handspun yarn and more than a few quilts I would have liked to have. But there was some pretty bad stuff. The cruelest use of craft items? The room fresheners that were really cute craft teddy bears that some delusional woman had dipped in scented wax. The poor things were strange colors and just looked sad, all covered in wax like that. We laughed hard about them. I found the most useless item to be “Table Leggins.” which were decorative covers for your table legs. You could get them to match your table décor. They were the biggest waste of money that I have ever seen, aside from those poor bears.

Saturday and Sunday were mostly slothful. I walked to the library to return a boatload of books, and found “Friends” Season 6. I wasn’t sure what season that was, and you can’t tell from the case, but I got it anyway. While I was cooking my first ever brisket, I watched most of the whole season. I finished it the next day. It turned out to be the last season I watched in its entirety, but it was still funny. It’s the one that starts with Ross and Rachel getting married in Las Vegas and ends with Monica and Chandler’s proposal.

Because of my work/sloth combo, I was ready to go back to work on Monday. Yay for an entire week off!

Metropolis: A Novel. Elizabeth Gaffney

Frank Harris is an German immigrant in post-Civil War New York City. His name isn’t really Frank Harris, but it becomes that after P.T. Barnum’s stable, where he works as a stableman, burns down. He escapes the fire, but is fingered as the arsonist. To avoid that charge, he falls in with the Whyos a New York City Gang. He’s not the hardened criminal the Whyos think, so how will he survive in the gang?

This was a great novel, very full of historical detail. I particularly enjoyed the Whyos and the Why Nots—the corresponding girl gang—as they used their musical talents to carry out their crimes. Frank Harris is a great main character. He is a bit idealistic, but also fairly canny. There’s a great bit of socialism and feminism mixed in. I loved this book. I rank it in the top 10 this year.